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Sponsored Data is off to a Rolling Start

In a mobile application ecosystem dominated by Over-the-Top (OTT) providers, mobile operators need to exploit new business models in ways to create value with them. One example of a Monetization use case promising a new business model is Sponsored Data. An early proponent among operators has been AT&T, who defines Sponsored Data as: “a service that enables companies to sponsor the data usage for specific content on behalf of eligible AT&T wireless customers [who] can browse, stream and enjoy content … without impacting their monthly data plan allowance.”

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A year after launch, AT&T spokespersons remain upbeat about its Sponsored Data program, despite only signing up about 10 content partners. What are some of the services enabled? Liberty Mutual insurance customers, for example, can send their smartphone photos from accident claims up to the Liberty Mutual cloud, without incurring data charges from AT&T. Kingsoft gives users of its mobile office software sponsored access to file access and transfers. AT&T states that is sees great interest in Sponsored Data from a variety of developers and content owners, but that such a service based on a new business model will take time to establish itself.

Waving the Green Flag

Other operators are experimenting with the Sponsored Data business model. Customers of T-Mobile’s Music Freedom service can now stream all the music they want from the most popular streaming services without it counting against their 4G LTE data limits. Other operators offer similar sponsored Internet radio services such as Spotify and Pandora, or social media applications like Facebook. Read More »

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Observations from Mobile World Congress 2015

I have just returned from a very interesting and jammed-packed week at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. A record 93,000 plus people are estimated to have attended this year’s premier technology festival. Much has changed in the industry over the last year since I reported my observations of MWC 2014. However, what is most remarkable is how the boundaries of mobility continue to expand and morph – everything now seems to be mobile? As such, the show offers a fascinating glimpse into the future of technology and the major social and business shifts that we can expect in the next few years.

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The following are my personal observations and extrapolations from the show Read More »

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Observations from Mobile World Congress 2014

I have just returned from a very interesting and jammed-packed week at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona. More than 75,000 people were estimated to have attended this year’s MWC, and its fabulous new conference facilities proved a great place to celebrate the industry’s accomplishments and catch a glimpse of its potential future.  Much has changed in the industry over the last year since I reported my observations of MWC 2013.  However, what is most remarkable is how the boundaries of mobility continue to expand and morph – everything now seems to be mobile?

The following are my personal observations and extrapolations from the show, based on my conversations with operators, customer meetings, analysts, and colleagues, as well as from simply walking the show floor: Read More »

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Wi-Fi Value-Added Services Improve the Retail Bottom-line

Retailing has always been a tough business.  But, the move to online shopping, the challenging economy and changes in shopper’s behavior has placed even more pressure on traditional retail margins.  Retailers are constantly looking for ways to get more people in to their store and to spend more.  Traditional retailers have long envied the massive amounts of valuable data that online retailers have available to help them better understand customer behavior and implement winning marketing tactics.  Online retailers know such valuable information as: how frequently customers return, how long they spend on the site, what they looked at but didn’t buy and where they went before and after coming to the site.  With this information, online retailers are able to rapidly adjust prices, promote certain items, and re-configure the layout of the site in almost real-time in order to increase the probability and value of a sale.  None of these data and insights has been available to bricks-and-mortar retailers – until now.  The increasing availability of Wi-Fi in retail locations is changing all of that.

Shopping malls and retailers are increasingly offering Wi-Fi to their customers as a service to connect their mobile devices to the Internet.  Hidden in this Read More »

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Creating a Wi-Fi Monetization Virtuous Circle

In the decade or so that Wi-Fi has existed, most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed it as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications.  Now mobile operators around the world are asking how they can effectively use Wi-Fi to help them cope with the huge surge in mobile data traffic and to meet customer needs and expectations.  In addition, they are all eager to understand how they can make money from Wi-Fi and to make the business case to justify investments in deploying Wi-Fi networks.

As many leading SPs are now discovering building a Wi-Fi network creates not only significant business value, but creates a virtuous circle that leads to ever-increasing sources of new Wi-Fi value. As the Wi-Fi Monetization Virtuous Circle outlined below shows, the reinforcing network and scale effects of Wi-Fi investments not only deliver unique business benefits at each of the levels, but also establish a valuable platform to exploit additional monetization opportunities at the next level.

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